Fire on Finchley Road

There is an incident ongoing on Finchley Road

There is an incident ongoing on Finchley Road - Credit: Archant

Firefighters are currently at Finchley Road.

A fire in an Indian restuarant brought traffic to a standstill and caused severe delays.

Six fire engines and 35 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze which broke out in the Guglee Indian restuarant in Finchley Road at lunchtime today.

Staff from the restaurant and people from the flats above it were evacuated after part of the ducting in the basement and at first floor level caught alight.

Chef Khurshid Alam, 30, described hearing a bang and the building shaking before he and three colleagues rushed outside.

“It happened so quickly. It was a very bad experience. It was as if someone had put a bomb inside the kitchen.

“It was very scary. I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” he added.

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Fire crews from West Hampstead, Euston, Paddington, North Kensington and Soho stations attended with police closing all three southbound lanes and diverting traffic down Goldhurst Terrace.

A second eyewitness, who lives in a flat above the restaurant and asked not to be named, described smelling a “vile, toxic” smoke before calling the fire brigade.

Asked how shocked he was, the resident said: “I wasn’t shocked. It’s like the Lower East Side here.”

Onlookers watched as firefighters entered the restaurant – which was about to open for lunchtime when the fire broke out – with smoke coming out of its front door.

Standing outside, a 52-year-old porter on his lunch break said: “It looks serious. I hope there are no casualties.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.